The basic elements of Earth, Fire, Water, Wind, and Lightning have been used throughout every game in the series. Elements are based on which runes are available, like Light and Darkness in Suikoden II or the Sun element in Suikoden V.
Some Runes are also treated differently across the series like the Pale Gate Rune. It receives it's own affinity and skill set in Suikoden III; but in games like Suikoden II and Suikoden V, the individual spells are separated by element and the rules of rune affinity affects each one.
It is only speculated that Rune damage is affected by the character's magic stat.
- Main page: Rune Affinity (Suikoden II)
In Suikoden II, Rune Affinity determines how much damage a character does with a rune.
Rune Affinities are divided into five classes:
- Class "A" - character deals 40% more damage.
- Class "B" - character deals 20% more damage.
- Class "C" - character deals normal damage.
- Class "D" - character deals 20% less damage.
- Class "E" - character deals 20% more damage, but has a chance to backfire.
- Main page: Skills: Suikoden III
In Suikoden III, Skills can be altered by equipment. Affinity is ranked from E to S rank. The game also adds affinity with the new sword of magic skill set and also gives the Blinking Rune, Pale Gate Rune, and Shield Rune their own independent status from the basic elemental runs.
In Suikoden IV, Rune Affinity is divided into four categories, ranking from 4 (the highest) to 1 (the lowest).
- Main page: Skills: Suikoden Tactics
In Suikoden Tactics, Characters are divided by unit types with mages and Lazlo only capable of equipping Magic casting Runes whereas melee type units can equip Sword of Magic Runes. All characters receive a specific element affinity such as Andarc's Lightning Affinity which plays into the games Elemental Terrain mechanic. These serve closer to being like previous games Rune Affinities as characters gain bonuses for standing in elemental terrain they have strong affinity with while receiving handicaps for standing in elemental terrain that opposes their element.
While mages and melee units can equip most of the elemental magic runes or sword of magic runes, they cannot equip the element that opposes their natural elemental affinity so Andarc can not use an Earth Rune nor can he use the Earth Rune Magic Skills.
- Main page: Skills: Suikoden V
In Suikoden V, Skills can be altered by items, and are displayed on the Status page.